They're reporting it as a touchy-feely human-interest story. A farmer decides to open up his fields to the public after he's harvested, so that regular people can pick through for anything left behind by the harvesting machines. He grows potatoes, beets, carrots, onions, pumpkins and leeks. And guess how many people came to pick through his fields for these non-glamorous vegetables? 40,000.
Unless he also served free popcorn and beer, it makes me a little bit worried about the state of our economy that 40,000 people were willing to do farm labor for root vegetables. Free or not, Americans don't even like beets.